3aIT Blog

Windows 11 desktopMicrosoft is getting close to finalising the list of new features being added to Windows 11. In the next couple of months or so, they will be releasing what's technically known as the "24H2" update. So what can we expect to find once we've installed it?

It's worth noting that Microsoft is anticipating that this will be a significant update - much larger than last autumn's equivalent update. A lot of this will be under-the-hood changes affecting Windows at a foundational level, but not in a way that you'll necessarily notice. However, that doesn't mean there's going to be no new features.

One of the main purposes of this release is to start providing specific features to so called "CoPilot+" PCs. These are the latest breed of devices that are coming to market now that include a specific chip designed to handle AI tasks. Microsoft has spent a lot of money on getting a head start on the coming AI revolution, so expect all future releases to include some eyecatching changes in this direction available only to people that have a PC that can support it.

CoPilot LogoThe biggest of these in this new release is "Windows Recall". This takes screenshots every couple of seconds and builds an index of everything you've seen on your screen. You can then prompt CoPilot to "Find the document I was looking at that included figures for this thing" or "Find the Whatsapp chat with the video of the birthday party". This feature hasn't been without controversy. As you might expect, some people are not keen on the idea of their screen being constantly captured and stored, even if that information never leaves the machine. Microsoft will now disable this feature by default and ask you to opt-in if you want to use it.

Another feature coming only to CoPiolt+ PCs is Live Caption. As you can probably guess, this will instantly create subtitles for any audio or video, whether you're watching live or it's pre-recorded.

For those without a CoPilot+ PC (the huge majority for now), there's some less eyecatching features coming, but no less useful in some respects. File Explorer will be getting extra support for creating Zip files meaning it can deal with pretty much any format, therefore ending the need to install 3rd party applications like 7zip. This update will also include the unified version of Microsoft Teams, ending the confusing separate versions for home and office.

Notably, this release will also no longer install some apps by default, including Mail, Calendar and Cortana. Microsoft will also be actively removing Wordpad in the coming weeks.

Expect this update to start start slowly rolling out from around September for most of us, although anyone buying one of these new CoPilot+ devices right now may find these changes already included.